Medical History

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 2

After being forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by her husband, Elizabeth Packard began advocating for herself as well as the improvement of treatment in such facilities. After her release, she lobbied for reform to the asylum system.

Packard v. Packard, Pt. 1

Elizabeth Packard’s marriage started out well, but soon, her questioning nature exploration of new ideas about religion led her husband to decide she was mentally ill. He had her forcibly committed to the Illinois State Asylum and Hospital for the Insane.

The Advent of Radioiodine Therapy

Humans have recognized thyroid disease for thousands of years. But in the 1930s. Saul Hertz had an insight after hearing a physicist's lecture that changed the treatment of hyperthyroidism forever. 

Alice Hamilton and the Birth of Occupational Medicine

Dr. Alice Hamilton was a trailblazer in science and medicine, and dedicated her life to improving the workplace standards for laborers in an effort to reduce illnesses that came from working with toxic chemicals.

Sushruta, Father of Plastic Surgery

Sushruta’s Compendium is one of the foundational texts of Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine. He’s also known as the father of plastic surgery, and was writing about medicine and surgery at least 200 years before Hippocrates.



Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. She lived at a time when a lot of change was happening in the United States as a whole, and among Native Americans and the Omaha tribe she was part of specifically. 




Ignaz Semmelweis and the War on Handwashing

Ignaz Semmelweis made a connection between hand hygiene and the prevention of childbed fever in the 19th century. He wasn’t taken seriously then, but today he’s known as everything from the father of infection control to the conqueror of childbed fever.

Author Interview: Kathryn Lougheed on Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is often thought of as a disease of the past, but it remains a problem in many parts of the world. Microbiologist and author Kathryn Lougheed joins Holly for a discussion of TB’s long history and the need to address it in the modern age.

Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service

We have talked before on the show about pioneers who advanced the medical field specifically as it relates to infants, and today’s subject is definitely another to add to that list. But, there are some problematic elements to her story.

Unearthed! in 2017, Part 1

In our annual recap, we walk through what's been literally and figuratively unearthed in 2017, including anticlimactic headlines, shipwrecks, medical finds, and a collection we've nicknamed "We told you so."